David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Hypatia 27 (1):118-138 (2012)
In this article I critically re-examine Julia Kristeva's view that becoming a speaking subject requires psychical matricide: violent separation from the maternal body. I propose an alternative, non-matricidal conception of subjectivity, in part by drawing out anti-matricidal strands in Kristeva's own thought, including her view that early mother–child relations are triangular. Whereas she understands this triangle in terms of a first imaginary father, I re-interpret this triangle using Donald Winnicott's idea of potential space and Jessica Benjamin's idea of an intersubjective space of thirdness. I argue that this space provides a maternal third term: a relation of connection and difference between two, a relation that inherits the affective, mobile, generative qualities of the maternal body as the infant (according to Kristeva) imagines it. This connecting space allows both mothers and children to emerge as subjects in their own right. I then suggest that potential-maternal space expands into language, so that language intrinsically allows the possibility of a speaking position of connection with the mother. Entrance into language need not entail separation or matricide: the problem is not language as such but the particular way that speech and logos have been defined historically.
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References found in this work BETA
Judith Butler (2005). Giving an Account of Oneself. Fordham University Press.
Julia Kristeva (1984). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Columbia University Press.
Julia Kristeva (1984). Revolution in Poetic Language. Columbia University Press.
Julia Kristeva (1989). Tales of Love. Columbia University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Harold Braswell (2015). My Two Moms: Disability, Queer Kinship, and the Maternal Subject. Hypatia 30 (1):234-250.
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